Rothar Routes

Cycle routes & pilgrim journeys in Ireland and Europe …..

Posts tagged ‘Mizen Head’

Malin Head to Mizen Head Day 8

Bantry – Mizen 54kms

I don’t ride a bike to add days to my life. I ride a bike to add life to my days.

Anon

The final day. A sense of exhilaration floods the senses. Looking forward to a great days cycling, of great sea views, of the last few hills to climb, thinking of rounding that last headland and the Atlantic Ocean stretching out endlessly ahead of us. Friday’s Bantry Market is famous and it was setting up just as we started. It looked like a great place to grab a bargain! Pádraig and Celine Dooley, who are on holidays close by, popped in to wish us well on the last leg and kindly stayed around to see us at the finish. It must have been the giddiness of anticipation that saw us head 12kms down towards Sheep Head instead of onward to Durrus; we put a nice few extra kms on our route plus a nice climb over the peninsula to get back on track. But again these deviations from plan always seem to work out for the better. We had great views across to the Beara peninsula before we turned inland and over the brow of the hill. A tough climb but with a great tail wind so we weren’t too put out and we were soon rolling into Durrus.

Love the colourful Montbretia, so popular on the byroads of Cork and Kerry

The tail wind became a head wind soon enough and only the stunning coastal scenery kept our minds off the pain! Views of Barley Cove, Cape Clear, the mystical lonely Fastnet Rock inspired us with every turn of the pedals. Just one breathtaking view after another.

Goleen was buzzing; two large groups of cyclists passed us in the opposite direction with support vehicles, presumably head to Mizen! Once we turned at Goleen the wind was relentless; almost stopping us in our tracks. Ronan passed by, coming down to collect us. Pure adrenalin kept us going at this stage.

Barleycove
Not too far away now!

Eight days after leaving Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head, we crossed the finish line at Mizen Head. We didn’t kill ourselves, took our time, enjoyed the scenery, the fresh air and the exercise, getting stronger each day. I can’t recommend a bike trip like it highly enough. There are so many reasons to go on a long trip. The sense of complete freedom and independence on the road means travelling is so relaxed. It’s just you and the road. You decide when you go and how far you go. Its your schedule and not some tour company. It’s never about speed or time on the road. The pace of life away from the busy towns and tourist areas is a joy; people move slowly, cars stop behind you and are in no rush to whizz by. Things go wrong and you improvise. You get lost in your own thoughts; there’s a lot of public emphasis on wellness and mental health; I guess that’s what bike touring actually is when you boil it down. it’s good for the body and good for the soul! Thanks to all who have followed the blog – I hope it gave you a flavour of our trip and encourages you to try it someday for yourselves! Now where to next Mary?

Malin Head to Mizen Head Day 5

Terryglass to Aherlow 106kms

Should  I  stay  or  should  I  go  now?
Should  I  stay  or  should  I  go  now?
If  I  go  there  will  be  trouble
And  if  I  stay  it  will  be  double
So  come  on  and  let  me  know

There was a symphony playing on the window pane when we woke. The weather had broken yesterday evening and it wasn’t letting up any time soon. After a hearty breakfast – ate slowly, we decided to give it another 30 minutes before departure to see would the clouds lift at all. They didn’t; it got worse! The thought of cycling in the rain is much worse than actually doing it and it was actually enjoyable; there’s a great sense of achievement in getting out and just dealing with the elements. We were on the eastern shore of Lough Derg and great gusts of wind were driving sheets of rain across the lake from County Clare and blowing us all over the place. We were saturated. It was a tough 27kms to Nenagh. And as Murphy’s law would have it, the rain stopped as we arrived! The break was only temporary. We changed our planned route to avoid a long steep exposed climb in the Silvermines. Instead we took a long diversion to Toomevara and onto the busy Borrisoleigh road. After 10kms we were delighted to see the Beara Breifne signs intersect the road and we followed those up into the hill country. It was delightful. The BB Way is well signposted and the scenery in this hidden corner of Tipperary is delightful. Beautiful country side all around as we reached Templederry. This peaceful village was home to the fiery rebel priest Fr John Kenyon (1812-1869). He was a fierce advocate of physical force and an outspoken opponent of Daniel O Connell, impacted as he was by the devastation of the famine in the surrounding countryside. But his efforts to relieve distress during the Famine endeared him to his flock. The local GAA Club is called Templederry Kenyons. That’s the beauty of the bike! You learn so much more about where you are passing through.

We were heading into very remote countryside now and still climbing gradually. Rain was still falling but it was majestic! Our diversion turned out really well and it was one of our favourite sections of the entire route. There was a lot of climbing today, almost a 1,000 metres in foul weather but it added to the whole sense of the journey. As I rounded a bend in the road a voice beckoned from 50 metres ahead ” How are ye? Will ye buy a lotto ticket?” We stopped and bought a couple, crossed our fingers, but Sean Treacey’s GAA Club haven’t been in touch so I guess we had no luck! I hope they have better luck in the Tipp Championships this year!

We eventually linked up with my original route at Hollyford, a busy centre for the timber industry. Another big climb had us pushing our bikes yet again but at least the rain had stopped and we had fabulous views across the hill country.

While Fr Kenyon had a reputation as an advocate for physical force our next stopping point was the village of Cappawhite had earned a world wide reputation for faction fighting in the 19th century, so we approached with caution!

We decided to not delay just in case the locals had ideas of resurrecting the practice and we kept moving forward following the BB Way signs which made navigation very easy and we soon reached Tipperary Town, gateway to the Glen of Aherlow. The climb up into the Glen was the toughest yet and we were both gasping – and that was pushing the bikes, not cycling! But it was great to crest the hill and enjoy the freewheel down as far as the Aherlow House Hotel where we had good grub and the luxury of a bath to look forward to! Another day down. 500kms completed, 205 kms to go!

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